Review by Doughboy
Reviewed: 08/17/01 | Updated: 08/17/01
Great graphics, but little else
ActRaiser 2 differs from its prequel in that there is not a sliver of strategic gaming in it. That's not a bad thing, there are plenty of great action games. The problem is though is that many people played this game thinking it would have the city-building element of its predecessor. It does, although the player isn't allowed to participate or even oversee it. It just happens. This frustrated many ActRaiser 1 fans, myself included. The entire premise of the game is to go hack up demons. Why? Because they're bothering your citizens and it's your godly duty to save your helpless worshippers from evil.
The sidescrolling levels are a mixed bag. They are graphically very rich and the music is perfect and of high caliber, but they are extremely difficult and long. If the game weren't so exahusting, it'd be awesome. Still, its place as a sequel is questionable, as it has no story link to ActRaiser 1 that I could see except for the fact that you're a deity, nor does it have any strategy element.
On the plus side, the game does have impressive player abilities. Your avatar can do all sorts of crazy moves, and unlike in the first game, he can fly (sort of). He can use cool-looking spells to dispatch his enemies and he himself just generally looks a lot better. The monsters are also considerably more aesthetic than in the first. They're a pain in the...neck...to kill sometimes, but at least you get killed by something that looks nice. The backgrounds and the stages themselves are really impressive as well, with elegant, artistic realism. They amplify the feeling of being in a world of beasts and gods. Good colors and effects, etc. Still, I don't feel that these compensate for the game's lukewarm gameplay.
The bottom line: If you're going into this game expecting it to be like the first, you're going to be in for a bitter surprise. Enix might have made a mistake with this one, banking on the success of their prior title but making their new game almost entirely different from the first, nullifying the appeal that ActRaiser 1 generated. If you're just in the market for some slicing and dicing, this game will be sufficient, but only that. It will annoy you fairly quickly and may cause you to do something incredibly rash, like go outside or something. Heaven forbid.
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